"The Beat of Black Wings" Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell Edited by Josh Pachter

by Sandra Murphy

Details on how to win an ebook copy of this book at the end of the review and a link to purchase it.

For lovers of the short story, The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell, is a veritable buffet. Twenty-six stories of crime, revenge, memorable pasts, shaky futures, well-laid plans, and spur of the moment action will keep readers wanting more. All the stories have a connection to a particular song from Joni Mitchell.

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Image Source Untreed Reads
I particularly enjoyed “The Gallery” by Christine Poulson, “Free Man in Paris” by Brandon Du Bois, “Dog Eat Dog” by Elaine Viets, “Ray’s Dad’s Cadillac” by Michael Bracken, “Last Chance” by Sherry Harris, and “Bad Dreams” by John M. Floyd.

Whether in an airport, a bar, the mall, or down by the river, the characters will grab you and not let go. In times where focus is hard to achieve, these stories will offer a quick getaway where someone else’s problems are worse than you can imagine.

Here’s a brief, very brief, teaser about each story. That’s the problem with reviewing short stories. They’re so compact, it’s hard to give much description without letting a spoiler slip by.


“Marcie” by Ricki Thomas—When you have what you want but can’t believe it, one mistake can change everything.

“The Pirate of Penance” by Marilyn Todd—Making promises you can’t keep can have deadly consequences.

“The Gallery” by Christine Poulson—A voice from the past can explain so many things.

“Both Sides, Now” by Art Taylor and Tara Laskowski—Just when you think you can trust someone…

“The Priest” by David Dean—Over fifty years later, a chance meeting in a busy airport, answers the questions of the past.

“Big Yellow Taxi” by Kathryn O’Sullivan—Change is inevitable but it’s how you react to it that matters in the end.

“River” by Stacy Woodson—Disrespect has its consequences. There are times when it’s best to just keep your mouth shut. Some people never learn.

“Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire” by Donna Andrews—When delusion controls a mind, innocents pay the price.

“Blonde in the Bleachers” by Carol Anne Davis—Hey, hey, you’re a rock star! There are no rules—but maybe there are consequences.

“Help Me” by Abby Bardi—Feel bad? Reach out and help someone else. It will make you feel better—in a very unexpected way.

“Free Man in Paris” by Brendan DuBois—Some jobs you just can’t walk away from—not and expect to live anyway.

“Shades of Scarlett Conquering” by Adam Meyer—The movies of the 40s, the classic noir, well, those plots can just be recycled and updated, as needed.

“Blue Motel Room” by Edith Maxwell—Self-employment is better, even if it’s against the law. At least you know who you can trust.

“Talk to Me” by Emily Hockaday and Jackie Sherbow—Therapy isn’t always the answer, especially if the therapist doesn’t ask the right questions.

“The Silky Veils of Ardor” by Greg Herren—High school and all its drama never ends, at least not until the reunion.

“The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines” by Amber Sparks—Being invisible has its perks.

“Man to Man” by Barb Goffman—There’s just no way to plan for every contingency, sometimes with results you never saw coming.

“Dog Eat Dog” by Elaine Viets—When you’ve planned to kill your spouse, the last thing you want is somebody else butting in.

“The Beat of Black Wings” by Josh Pachter—Things don’t always play out the way you want, but if you try, you can make the best of any situation.

“Cherokee Louise” by Matthew Iden—Teenage rebellion can get you killed—or at least get someone killed.

“Ray’s Dad’s Cadillac” by Michael Bracken—Algebra, a new Cadillac, and lost hope, regained.

“Sex Kills” by Alan Orloff—Sex, drugs, booze, fame, sometimes having it all, just isn’t worth the trouble.

“Last Chance” by Sherry Harris—Everybody deserves a second chance, don’t they?

“Harlem in Havana” by Alison McMahan—Love among the revolutionaries.

“Taming the Tiger” by Mindy Quigley
—Bad luck can land you in the right place, at the right time, if only you’re ready and willing.

“Bad Dreams” by John M. Floyd
—revenge comes in all forms but mostly if you plan ahead.

To enter to win an ebook copy of The Beat of Black Wings, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "wings,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 25, 2020. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter.You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up last week.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won't see coming.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


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